Have you ever walked into a new gym and completely felt like “that guy”? You know, the one everybody is looking at, the new guy, the outcast.
I moved from Texas to Florida a few months ago, and recently, I have been doing A LOT of traveling. All this moving has had me in a total of 9 different gyms, 1 basement, 2 different tracks, multiple hills and fields, and only about a month of that in my garage (my personal favorite).
In the course of all this traveling I have learned how to dominate fitness in new places…That being:
- Not looking like an idiot when I walk into a new gym
- Making the regulars feel uncomfortable with my level of comfort
- And getting some serious training done while on the road
Gyms and their members, at times, can be completely unreceptive and make you feel like the outcast. This will make you less likely to workout while traveling, because nobody likes to feel judged or socially uncomfortable while working out. Here are some tips I have found to combat all that crap.
Preemptive Strike (research)
If you’re like me you don’t have one of those nifty gym memberships that can be used in 207 locations nationwide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Also, if you’re like me, your training is not not widely acceptable in most globo gyms.
This means you have to start with research. Google is your friend, well it’s everyone’s friend seeing as how it has replaced general human intelligence with “let me Google that”, but I digress. It is easy to google gyms in the local area of where you will be traveling. Also, google local parks for an outdoor workout or even high schools as they will generally have tracks and maybe pull-up bars (don’t go to high schools during school hours…people will ask questions).
If you will be in one place for an extended period of time, I recommend paying for a gym (yea, I said it). If you are just passing through be sure find some good spots to get a workout done.
The Travel Packs
It is always a good idea to travel with some of your own equipment, just in case you cannot find anywhere to workout.Here are two of the Eo3 travel packs.
Travel Pack 1 (traveling by car):
- 2 pood kettlebell (or weight of your choice)
- Speed rope
- Wall Ball
Travel Pack 2 (traveling by plane):
- Lacrosse ball (work on some mobility WODs)
- Speed rope
- Agility ball
The Agility ball workout/warmup:
- Take ball and throw it 2-3 ft above your head, but not too far away from your body.
- You have to catch the ball on the first bounce
- You have to catch it 20 consecutive times
- Every Time you catch it on the second bounce or later add 2 more catches to your total
- Add burpee penalties for every added catch.
Another great item to add to your travel pack would be some rings. However, I haven’t tried to fly with my rings yet. Afraid they may get confiscated, but if you are driving, bring some rings!
Also permanently add this document to your phone or computer: Bodyweight Workout List
You can also check out an article I wrote, “Pull a Workout Out of Thin Air”, for more traveling workouts and ideas.
Scout the Area
Alright, you have done your research and you have your travel pack, time to scout the area.
Scouting Outdoor areas:
Sometimes, what you find online doesn’t quite pan out. It is best to scout the area once you arrive, before you go out to do a workout and find a huge muddy field that you can’t even walk in without losing a shoe.
If you like the area you can do some pre-planning on where the best placement of your equipment (travel packs) would be and what kind of workout you may end up doing i.e. trees, hills, stairs, bars.
I always like to scout out a gym before I make any sort of commitment, or go there to workout. I skip the globo gyms and go straight to the local CrossFit boxes. I like to talk to the owner or head coach to see how competent they are and how much freedom they will allow me in my training.
I like to go to these scouting sessions in normal clothes, maybe even business casual. You may think this makes you look like an idiot, but I feel it does the opposite. I hate walking into gym with workout clothes on, when I know I will pretty much just be walking around. People think you are lost or don’t know what you are doing. Showing up in clothes that are clearly not meant for working out shows you are there simply to check things out. It will make the owner more receptive and will make the regular members remember your face.
Bring your own gear
Don’t bring a kettlebell into the gym with you, but I like to carry around a backpack with a lot of the smaller items i.e. wrist straps, gloves, mobility bands etc. I may end up using all, or none, of it. However, this will show others that you are serious and will make them feel a little uncomfortable. Questions will start to rise in their head, “Who is this guy?”.
Also, having two different pair of shoes, say cross training shoes and Olympic lifting shoes or even converse will also make people take notice.
What I am NOT saying:
You are not bringing in your own gear to be an attention whore or to get noticed. The fact of the matter is, that people are going to notice you either way…you’re the new guy. Bring in your own stuff to show others you are here to train, regardless of what they may think.
Plugin or Plug Out
You have two options when showing up to a new gym. Option 1, you can plug in to the community, this is especially true of CrossFit gyms. You can introduce yourself to everyone and shake hands and meet new people. Option 2, you can plug out, this is normally what I do if I end up at a globo gym somehow. I put in the headphones, focus on my workout and ignore the crap out of every other human in the room…I think that is the standard operating procedure for all globo gyms, but you can correct me if I’m wrong.
Working out around new people can make you a little self conscious…Don’t be! You are doing what you know how to do and how you know to do it. If there is a coach there who corrects you, be receptive. Coaches are there to help you, not to make you feel uncomfortable. But feel confident in your skills and abilities.
Remember to have fun! At the end of the day, it’s just working out 🙂